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Get rid of 'forums' when setting as default an app


ehku
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Hello,

I would like to redirect the users visiting site.com to site.com/portal. If I set Portal as the default app, then when the string 'forums' is added to every urls coming from the Forums app, for example:

site.com/forums/forum/... 
site.com/forums/topic/...

which I want to avoid.

Is there a way to:

  • Either redirect site.com to site.com/portal. while keeping Forums as the default app (using .htaccess for example).
  • Or set Portal as the default app and remove "forums" the urls?

Thank you in advance.

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this is because you have installed your site inside the /forums/ directory if you were to move all files to the root domain you would not have that issue - kind of like it is here:

community.invisionpower.com/topic

there are topics on that subject in the forums there is a procedure to set this up properly so make adequate backups and research the correct procedure. 

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1 minute ago, Ocean West said:

this is because you have installed your site inside the /forums/ directory if you were to move all files to the root domain you would not have that issue - kind of like it is here:

community.invisionpower.com/topic

there are topics on that subject in the forums there is a procedure to set this up properly so make adequate backups and research the correct procedure. 

I installed my site at the root directory, i.e. site.com/ ;) If I set the Forums app as default, then I get site.com/topic/..., like it is here.

Try setting another app than Forums as default, you'll see the problem.

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On 11/16/2015, 10:34:58, ehku said:

I installed my site at the root directory, i.e. site.com/ ;) If I set the Forums app as default, then I get site.com/topic/..., like it is here.

Try setting another app than Forums as default, you'll see the problem.

It looks like it can be changed to remove 'forums' in the advanced section of the ACP under Friendly URL's.

I tried removing just the word forums part of the path of the topic rewrite and it seemed to work. I'm not sure why that's in there or if it causes any side effects though.

My install also is in the root domain directory but uses portal app as default. Forums is indeed added into my topic URL's everywhere on the site with IPB4. On IPB 3 I did not have forums in the url also using portal as the default. So it caused all my topic URL's to change.

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YES! I have exactly this problem, and have been trying to argue this with IPS Support.

It is very clearly an issue that IPS3 urls are not the same in IPS4. And if changing the default app also changes the URL structure throughout the site (thanks for working that out, @ehku) then I'd describe that as a pretty serious bug indeed!

Because of this issue, Google Webmaster Tools is reporting thousands of pages are missing on my site.

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1 hour ago, Pseudonym said:

And if changing the default app also changes the URL structure throughout the site (thanks for working that out, @ehku) then I'd describe that as a pretty serious bug indeed!

No. You not liking how it works, doesn’t make it a bug. It’s working as intended, so it’s certainly not a bug. 

That being said, I’m in the same boat with my 3.4 site. I wish that the IPS Guides could deal with such issues, which means: clearly going through the different upgrade scenarios and explaining which options with which consequences we can expect. 

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5 hours ago, opentype said:

No. You not liking how it works, doesn’t make it a bug. It’s working as intended, so it’s certainly not a bug. 

That being said, I’m in the same boat with my 3.4 site. I wish that the IPS Guides could deal with such issues, which means: clearly going through the different upgrade scenarios and explaining which options with which consequences we can expect. 

Stop being so reflexivly defensive of IPS. If this is "works as intended" then the intention is a bug.

The url structure is simply wrong, even if they intended it to be that way.  

Listing topics in a forum gets you http:<Site URL>/Forums/Forum/<Forum Name>  - It needs to drop one of the "forum(s)" at least, but ideally it would follow the forum heirarchy.... i.e. <Site URL>/forums/<category name>/<Forum Name>

Showing a thread gets you <Site URL>/Forums/Topic/<Topic Name>  - again... badly structured, generic, and poor design. It should be <Site URL>/Forums/<Category Name>/<Forum Name>/<Topic Name>

It's basic SEO to put the keywords of the topics being discussed in the URL, and the category name and forum name are key to that.

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9 minutes ago, CheersnGears said:

Stop being so reflexivly defensive of IPS.

I am not. The meaning of the word bug is universal in the software industry and has NOTHING whatsoever to do with IPS. I corrected the wrong use of the word that’s it. I made no statement whatsoever about the IPS software in this sentence. Not for it, not against it—nothing. 

Quote

If this is "works as intended" then the intention is a bug.

An intention being a bug doesn’t make any sense at all. 

Edited by opentype
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When something is wrong but "Works as intended", then the intent is the bug, not the code.  

There are still lots of things that need to be corrected in 4.x that "work as intended" but the results are incorrect. Witness the huge fight over the Activity stream that has been going on for months. 

For example: I'm going to be filing a bug report on the RSS in Pages. At the moment it is dumping the enirety of a pages article into the description tag.  I'm sure that is what the programmer intended to do, however, it is wrong. The description tag is supposed to be a summary of the article, not the whole thing.  Thus, it is a bug.

This URL structure complaint from the OP is likewise the same. There is a bug because the end results are wrong.  A url structure of <Site URL>/Forums/Forum/<Topic> is a flaw, bug, whatever you want to call it.... and it should be fixed.

Moreover, very few here are high level coders. Most are simply site owners who see a flaw in the software's operation. To them it is a bug, and in this case I agree. Language policing people over the word "bug" isn't particularly helpful. 

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2 minutes ago, CheersnGears said:

When something is wrong but "Works as intended", then the intent is the bug, not the code.  

No. Look it up yourself if you don’t want to believe me. 

 

2 minutes ago, CheersnGears said:

This URL structure complaint from the OP is likewise the same. There is a bug because the end results are wrong.  

Again: no! Stop this child’s play. There is nothing wrong with being wrong. If you used the word wrongly in the past, you have learned something today. That’s a good thing! And we can move on peacefully and deal with actual issues of the functionality discussed in this topic. 

 

2 minutes ago, CheersnGears said:

Language policing people over the word "bug" isn't particularly helpful. 

On the contrary! The better we use the right terminology the better we can communicate our wants and needs regarding the software to IPS. If you’re insisting to call functionalities bugs, which aren’t bugs, you wont get very far. It will be hard to take you seriously and you will have all your “bug reports” closed, because, well, they are not bugs and shouldn’t have been posted in the bug tracker. 

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2 minutes ago, Daniel F said:

It's not a bug, that's how the system works....

For the default app, the url is url/module/controller and for everything else it is url/appname/module/controller

So if the forum application isn't the default app, it needs to be in  the url and if you don't like the forums part in the url, set the forum application as default application, then you'll get rid of it

Except that it doesn't need to be in the URL....

Thus....

On 11/18/2015, 12:00:54, prupdated said:

It looks like it can be changed to remove 'forums' in the advanced section of the ACP under Friendly URL's.

I tried removing just the word forums part of the path of the topic rewrite and it seemed to work. I'm not sure why that's in there or if it causes any side effects though.

My install also is in the root domain directory but uses portal app as default. Forums is indeed added into my topic URL's everywhere on the site with IPB4. On IPB 3 I did not have forums in the url also using portal as the default. So it caused all my topic URL's to change.

I tested this just now... it is literally a 2 minute change in the ACP.

2 minutes ago, opentype said:

No. Look it up yourself if you don’t want to believe me. 

 

Again: no! Stop this child’s play. There is nothing wrong with being wrong. If you used the word wrongly in the past, you have learned something today. That’s a good thing! And we can move on peacefully and deal with actual issues of the functionality discussed in this topic. 

 

On the contrary! The better we use the right terminology the better we can communicate our wants and needs regarding the software to IPS. If you’re insisting to call functionalities bugs, which aren’t bugs, you wont get very far. It will be hard to take you seriously and you will have all your “bug reports” closed, because, well, they are not bugs and shouldn’t have been posted in the bug tracker. 

The FUNCTIONALITY is WRONG.

The solution has already been posted in this thread.  Modify three lines in Friendly URLs in the ACP to remove the extraneous URL slug. 

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1 hour ago, CheersnGears said:

The FUNCTIONALITY is WRONG.

Baby steps …
You stopped using the word “bug” and replaced it with “wrong”, which is equally problematic, because wrong is an absolute statement. However, the problem you have with the default URL slugs is your opinion — that’s something very different. You cannot claim that your opinion is “absolute”, so that when you say the functionality is wrong, it actually is wrong per se and for everyone else. 

 

1 hour ago, Daniel F said:

Just a proof: https://community.invisionpower.com/files/ (no app name:D ) :unsure:

I’m not following. /files/ is the URL slug for the app. 

Edited by opentype
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20 minutes ago, opentype said:

Baby steps …
You stopped using the word “bug” and replaced it with “wrong”, which is equally problematic, because wrong is an absolute statement. However, the problem you have with the default URL slugs is your opinion — that’s something very different. You cannot claim that your opinion is “absolute”, so that when you say the functionality is wrong, it actually is wrong for everyone else.

Yeah, because it's not like there aren't fairly common best practices out there or anything.  It's just my opinion... and that of Google... and Moz... and Yoast...

Having the url be generic is not best practice and that 4.1 is supposed to be a great SEO improvement over 3.4 means that going against best practice is wrong.

Having the url use the slug Forums/Forum/ when it has been proven to be unnecessary, is a bug.  It's such a simple bug that we already have the fix for it.

Edited by CheersnGears
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6 minutes ago, CheersnGears said:

Yeah, because it's not like there aren't fairly common best practices out there or anything.  It's just my opinion... and that of Google... and Moz... and Yoast...

Are you serious? Do you really not get, that in this whole discussion with you I have not once talked about the actual URL slugs, but about your faulty use of words. If I explain something about the use of the word “wrong”, how can you reply with pointing to certain companies. Are you really not even able to understand what I am saying? 

 

6 minutes ago, CheersnGears said:

 It's such a simple bug …

Not it is not. Your are wrong. Factually wrong. And because of that, it is not a matter of opinion. Seriously, look it up! You are making a fool of yourself if you willingly continue to make mistakes even after they have been pointed out to you. 

 

In addition, you are also missing the point why the default app URL slugs are there. But I am not even gonna try to explain them to you if you can’t even understand simple words as “bug” and “wrong”. 

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Wow, I left this topic for 48 hours, and in my absence it's exploded!

On 22/11/2015, 12:21:10, opentype said:

You not liking how it works, doesn’t make it a bug. It’s working as intended, so it’s certainly not a bug.

Fair enough, Opentype. The reason I assumed it was a bug was because, to be quite honest, I couldn't believe that IPS would deliberately change something as fundamental as the forum URL structure to a system that didn't support v3.4 style URLs. (Now, in fairness to IPS, I think I got that wrong - some of the problems I've been having may be related to legacy systems we were using prior to IPBv3.4)

Still, I think the structure that they are using is not ideal. So can we just call it a flaw, then? That's a purely subjective term, and I don't mean it to be nasty to IPS, whose software I love in every other aspect! :D

IMO, the fact that the "/forums/" slug is removed when the Forums app is default demonstrates that IPS recognises it's preferable to have a URL structure without it. Which is great - I absolutely agree with them! The fact that it reappears when a Portal app is used just shows they maybe didn't consider situations like ours, where although we have set the Portal as the default app, the "de facto default" app (as in the main app used) is still the Forum app - and therefore the same URL logic should still apply.

Maybe the easiest way to fix this is simply to have a setting that determines which app gets the front page - separate to the default setting.

 

On 22/11/2015, 7:11:15, CheersnGears said:

The solution has already been posted in this thread.  Modify three lines in Friendly URLs in the ACP to remove the extraneous URL slug. 

As @prupdated themselves said, he/she isn't sure whether there will be any side effects with this solution. Before I try this on my live site, I'd really like to hear from IPS if this is a good idea.

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If something is not working as intended, that seems to be generally called a "bug." If something is working as intended but it sucks, that is usually called a "design flaw." Would have to investigate further before concluding anything and it does seem as though there probably can be some fixes applied. These are my thoughts, take them as just another opinion.

@ehku = Can you send me the URL of your site? FYI, it's typically very bad practice to redirect your home page for a multitude of reasons. The obvious: (1) visitors may think something is wrong or cockeyed with your site; (2) imagine what happens to backlinks should you ever decide to get rid of the portal and go to Pages or have your site be like 99.9% of sites with a real home page? 

Regarding the /forums/forum/ URL - it's not fatal even though it's not optimal. I'm guessing this can probably be remedied with a rewrite although I haven't tried it yet - I'll reinstall IPS4 on a new site and see what I can do. Typically this should be the name of the forum and number in the URL and IPS4 should know it is a forum in the /forums/ directory/identifier the same way /topics/ works. These are your general forum pages, which probably won't rank well anyway since the meat are your topics. Let's assume this can be fixed.

I haven't used the Portal. But if using the Portal suddenly adds a /forums/ directory structure to a topic URL, then that is definitely not the way you want things to work. This is because switching on the portal creates all NEW URLs for every forum topic. 301 redirecting all your topics/threads is really not something you want to ever worry about by simply turning on/off a module. I can't imagine this is designed as intended. I don't want to scare anyone yet, haven't seen yet if this is the case. Perhaps there is an easy fix for now as stated above, although this should happen automatically -- and perhaps it can be added to an IPS4 update.

I reflected my thoughts about IPS4 SEO way back when it was released and feel free to find them (and read the responses I received.) My main thoughts were focused on inconsistent treatment of features in Suite modules, e.g. SEO, permissions, etc. Not sure why but it seems IPS had some design plans in mind. In addition to Forums v. Topics treatment above - take the format of Forum topics (threads) v. Page articles (posts) and you'll see that Pages introduces the letter "r" in the Pages/article URL for the article number (article-title-r123) while Forum topic URLs do not and are in reverse order (123-post-title). Same goes for the URL structure of Topics and Articles ---  Forum forums vs. Pages categories. You can move topics around in forums easily since the URL doesn't include the forums in the URL (/topic/1234-subject-title/). But that is not the case with Pages where the URL includes categories (e.g. /pages/category/subcat/article-r123). So changing a category name or moving an article to another category will cause you to 301 redirect every page, which I'm not sure if IPS4 does automatically (such as Wordpress does.)

Bottom line is this - IPS4 is way too developed to make certain major changes at this point. I don't think that these niggles are make or break your SEO performance if you don't move things around (like changing category names or moving articles to another category) which will need a 301 redirect for each change you may make.) You better plan and set up your structure properly right from the beginning. If you do then the overall impact should be negligible. Same goes for making sure you categorize an article BEFORE you publish. A truly total PITA but workable.

Edited by esquire
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5 hours ago, esquire said:

@ehku = Can you send me the URL of your site? FYI, it's typically very bad practice to redirect your home page for a multitude of reasons. The obvious: (1) visitors may think something is wrong or cockeyed with your site; (2) imagine what happens to backlinks should you ever decide to get rid of the portal and go to Pages or have your site be like 99.9% of sites with a real home page

Thanks, @esquire. The site is at http://networkflow.net (it is only for the purpose of testing IPS 4. I want to make sure that everything is working well before upgrading another big forum from 3.4.8 to 4.x). 

Yes, I'm also afraid of (2).

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7 hours ago, ehku said:

Thanks, @esquire. The site is at http://networkflow.net (it is only for the purpose of testing IPS 4. I want to make sure that everything is working well before upgrading another big forum from 3.4.8 to 4.x). 

Yes, I'm also afraid of (2).

Do you have any apps installed besides just the portal? I'm curious to see what it does to Gallery, Pages, etc. - any additional module. However, I think the problem is illustrated below.

Regarding terminology and @CheersnGears usage, I have occasionally heard design flaws referred to as bugs on occasion. The speaker's focus wasn't on poorly designed code - such as the way @Pseudonym used it. The "bug" in reaching a generally accepted standard was a faulty human who could be so daft so as to intend such a ridiculous result, lol. And nobody really gave a damn which term was used so long as everyone in the room knew "it had to be fixed." :)

OK... I've looked at the issue on the archive of my old site at fixxer which I put up a while ago. There is seemingly unnecessary use of the slug "forum" to denote a forum name when you're viewing a forum. If you're in the forums directory then it should work like everything else -- ANY entry in that directory is going to be a forum name. But I think that the extraneous slug is the /forums/ slug - not "forum" which is just the identifier of a "forum". This is because IPS seems to work like XF (and IPS3) and many other scripts in that there is just one "identifier" in a URL but it's not an indication of directories, e.g. /forums/ and everything beyond means it's contained within the forums directory or a subdirectory of forums. So you have /forums/ to indicate forum names, /topics/ as a forum thread as opposed to /forums/topics/ -- which is what you'd get if you had the script physically installed in the forums directory as a natural part of the URL structure denoting location on the server.

Only had a few minutes - it seems that IPS3 takes the same approach, with the ONLY issue being what to do with the forum root, which should be named /forums/ and that's it (which I think IPS3 labeled as "index" and which you had to change, if you could but you get the point - a unique URL that denotes the forumhome.) I checked out @opentype sites and while it seems he redirects his home page for the site using IPS3 so I wasn't sure - but it appears the same consistent structure as my site with IP.C as the default install. Changing to the forums as default changed nothing in the structure. But his IPS4 site mirrored mine too in adding an extra /forums/ slug to the forum name URLs which I didn't even notice - and I can't imagine that this is an intended result and @CheersnGears is probably right in that it's more a reflection of a bug. If this can be solved by using the SEO tool as described above, then I can't imagine why IPS can't just roll up this behavior in an update so that a user doesn't have to manually remove the /forums/ slug that is automatically created and consistent with IPS3. No drama. Probably just an easily fixed bug.

Edited by esquire
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25 minutes ago, esquire said:

But his IPS4 site mirrored mine too in adding an extra /forums/ slug to the forum name URLs which I didn't even notice - and I can't imagine that this is an intended result and CheersnGears is probably right in that it's more a reflection of a bug.

No, how do you figure?

The 4.0 URL structure is quite simple and was already mentioned in this topic. In contrast to 3.x it’s not a forum (as “root app”) with additional apps anymore, but a suite with a core and independent apps. 
You might have App 1, App 2 and App 3. 
If you set App 1 as default, it will be available as root app without an app-specific slug. App 2 will appear as /app2/ and App 3 as /app3/. If you set App 2 as default, it will become the root app and App 1 will get an URL slug now*. 

Makes perfect sense. It’s a clear hierarchical structure, which guarantees unique, non-conflicting URLs and also delivers this hierarchical structures to search engines and users alike. Personally, if I do have a gallery and a forum as non-root apps in a suite, I want them to have exactly those URL slugs which they have by default. I want those sections to have this keyword in the URL slug and I want users to see this folder to identify the section in the URL.  

I fully understand that some users might want it differently (and they can have that through the advanced settings), but I am not getting why people insist this might be design flaw or even bug. Its a good default for any new 4.0 suite for the reasons I just mentioned. 

Regarding upgrades from certain 3.4 installations (i.e. with IP.Content): well there we have a little bit of a problem, because the URL structure changes. But the “design flaw” here is not 4.0, it’s in the 3.x series. There everything was build around the forum and the IP.Content homepage was then more or less a hack. Having the forum in the root folder, but the homepage in a sub-folder (e.g. /pages/), that was not ideal. And of course this old system doesn’t make any sense anymore in 4.0, since your IPS suite might not even have a forum app anymore. 

 

*Pages behaves a little bit differently, since its purpose in the suite it a little bit different from the other apps. 

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6 hours ago, opentype said:

No, how do you figure?The 4.0 URL structure is quite simple and was already mentioned in this topic. In contrast to 3.x it’s not a forum (as “root app”) with additional apps anymore, but a suite with a core and independent apps. 

Unfortunately this isn't really the case, which is why IPS 4 presented no significant departure from IPS 3 for me. It's actually semi-independent apps since you can't place apps in subdomains. As a result, IPS 4 creates the same semi-independent modules as most other forums, including XF. The only one that isn't built this way is Burning Board, which last I saw you can have modules in subdirectories. Configuration ties into the core. No brainers - store, image gallery and file repository all in individual subdomains.

6 hours ago, opentype said:

If you set App 1 as default, it will be available as root app without an app-specific slug. App 2 will appear as /app2/ and App 3 as /app3/. If you set App 2 as default, it will become the root app and App 1 will get an URL slug now*. 

Makes perfect sense. It’s a clear hierarchical structure, which guarantees unique, non-conflicting URLs and also delivers this hierarchical structures to search engines and users alike. Personally, if I do have a gallery and a forum as non-root apps in a suite, I want them to have exactly those URL slugs which they have by default. I want those sections to have this keyword in the URL slug and I want users to see this folder to identify the section in the URL.  

I fully understand that some users might want it differently (and they can have that through the advanced settings), but I am not getting why people insist this might be design flaw or even bug. Its a good default for any new 4.0 suite for the reasons I just mentioned. 

Yes, it works exactly as intended - assuming this is a brand new product that has no existing customers nor any prior versions of the software. But if there is no or limited ability that allows a significant number of users to maintain a standard existing URL structure, then that cannot be ignored - call it a bug, design flaw or "oblivion." The concept:

  • / = portal page
  • /forums/ = forumhome
  • /forums/forum-name-here-123 = forum categories
  • /topics/ = existing topical structure.

If you know that numerous existing sites are using this existing structure, do you (a) accommodate this structure with at least an option; or (b) ignore your customers setup and only pursue a setup option that would apply to new customers? Hopefully what was described may solve this issue -- although even if it does, I'm not sure if IPS 4 maintains URL structure for upgrades automatically.

What you describe as "working as designed" is the root core of what has many customers at odds with IPS 4. It represents what the team came up with for what they believe community software should be if they could choose the best practices for everything and design the ultimate super community software from scratch. The problem with this approach is that (a) not everyone agrees that the approaches taken were really the "best" approach (b) some areas could and should have accommodated more flexibility since there may be no single "right" approach; and (c) supporting existing sites in certain areas is critical for IPS 3 owners to consider using IPS 4 - and paying for the upgrade. So in short, what you're describing is a great way to go forward -- assuming there is no past history - which there certainly is.

6 hours ago, opentype said:

Regarding upgrades from certain 3.4 installations (i.e. with IP.Content): well there we have a little bit of a problem, because the URL structure changes. But the “design flaw” here is not 4.0, it’s in the 3.x series. There everything was build around the forum and the IP.Content homepage was then more or less a hack. Having the forum in the root folder, but the homepage in a sub-folder (e.g. /pages/), that was not ideal. And of course this old system doesn’t make any sense anymore in 4.0, since your IPS suite might not even have a forum app anymore. 

*Pages behaves a little bit differently, since its purpose in the suite it a little bit different from the other apps. 

Agreed IP.C needed those hacks reworked. Unfortunately I find Pages to feel more like a more dedicated hack of IP.C rather than a whole new approach to optimizing content intended as articles. Cannot understand why categories are hard coded into the URL. I also respectfully disagree that Pages should behave differently than other apps in the suite at all. Gallery, files, etc. - ALL content should have a master control set and be uniform, with extensions to a core group of uniform functions and URL general where appropriate. None of the other apps place the category name in the URL, which makes no sense to me. And the permissions group in Gallery shouldn't be different than files for the same reason. Anyway... it is what it is. The question is what we can do about these things when they arise. I suggest someone test the solution and also what happens during an upgrade.

Edited by esquire
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